The Washington Commanders have wrapped up their second practice of OTAs, and even though it was a wet and muggy start to practice, coach Ron Rivera was satisfied with what he saw.
There were plenty of new faces mixed in with the players attending practice, the most notable of which being quarterback Carson Wentz. First-round pick Jahan Dotson highlighted the Commanders' eight-player draft class, while newcomers Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner received plenty of action manning the interior of the offensive line.
There was little contact throughout the day, and there won't much until training camp in August. The point of the next few weeks, Rivera said, is for the players to learn and develop a rapport with each other.
"What'll happen is the stuff that we did today will be included tomorrow," Rivera said. "We'll do some installation this afternoon. They'll have to carry over from yesterday [to] today, and we'll see what we have as far as that's concerned."
Here are some takeaways from what went down during the practice.
- As mentioned above, Wentz was at practice and had a mostly productive performance. He threw several passes that were on target, and even the ones that fell to the ground, like a pass to Dax Milne during the first 11-on-11 period, provided his wideouts to make a play. He did have an interception, which was grabbed by Corn Elder, but it was only one of a few blemishes on a solid day.
- Another player who was noticeably on the field was Curtis Samuel, and it appears that he has put his injury issues from the previous season behind him. He was quick, precise in his routes and had burst after the catch. Rivera believes they can "close the book" on the groin injury that hampered Samuel, and Samuel backed that up by saying, "I'm great. Y'all saw me flying around out there."
- Cole Holcomb has been lifted up by the coaches as the Commanders' answer to their middle linebacker spot, and he certainly acted the part, as he was the first person in line for every individual drills and set the pace during team drills. He's had the green dot, which signifies that he's the one calling the plays on defense, for a while now, but operating as the true MIKE linebacker is a welcome change for Holcomb, who had to call plays from multiple spots last season.
- Communication and establishing relationships is important to the entire team, and that includes the Commanders' secondary, which had several new pieces last year, including Bobby McCain and William Jackson III. They've brought in new talent again this year, and Jackson said the group is communicating better. He feels more comfortable working in the scheme, and he believes the secondary is having more fun this year, which will translate to the field.
- On that note, Darrick Forrest was active during team drills and received some first team reps. The second-year pro moved and performed well in coverage. He also nearly grabbed an interception in the second 11-on-11 drill.
- Another young player who saw plenty of playing time was Cole Turner, who was the offense's primary pass-catcher from the position with Logan Thomas still on the mend from his knee injury. Once again, Turner showed the skills that have Rivera and the rest of the coaches excited about him. With Thomas' timetable for a return still undetermined, Turner could end up getting a chunk of the snaps.
- Wentz had a few targets that he found more often than others throughout the morning, two of which being Dotson and Dyami Brown. The highlight for Dotson was a wide-open 15-yard completion, which he hauled in before running out of bounds. On Dotson, Rivera said he liked the rookie's route-running and "natural hands." Now, it's just a matter of him learning and growing within the scheme.
- With Norwell and Turner manning the guard positions, Rivera said he is comfortable with where the offensive line is as a complete unit. He also likes the depth within the group; he highlighted Wes Schweitzer as a good flex option and "a heck of a football player as well." Chase Roullier is still healing from his injury, but even if he takes his time to recover, Rivera seems confident in what the group has at its disposal.